Introduction to Management

Introduction

Have you ever considered of making management a career and then stopped and wandered what it is that they actually do? How do they accomplish this and even further more how do they deal with people? If you have ever worked for a good manager you will know how they accomplish their goals and how effectively they interact with other people. Good management takes practice and time to accomplish, yet with dedication any person that has their mind set on working in management can become an excellent manager as long as they develop and learn the roles and skills that a manager must possess.

Furthermore, due to the ever changing world, whether it is economical, financial, or even environmental; there may come a time that a manager will be faced with changes in the workplace. Businesses may sometimes have to make changes in order to keep their business operating. As a manager you will most likely have to deal with employees that will resist this change; however, by learning how to deal with the matter and using the right strategies you can help the employees make this transition an easier process. The way you as a manager deal with these issues will determine how well your team will make the necessary changes.

What is a manager?

A manager is a person that ensures the goals of the company are successfully accomplished. We can define management as both an art and a science; meaning that it is an art of making employees more effective and a science by the way management chooses to accomplish this. In the early 1900’s a woman named Mary Parker Follet defined management as “an art of getting things done through people” . Therefore, managers are the ones that are responsible for making sure that the goals of the company are accomplished successfully and effectively.

All managers are different; however, they all do share a common goal. Some managers are generalists, while other managers are specialists. The general manager manages all aspects of a company; while the specialized manager will concentrate in managing a certain area in the business such as human resources, operations, and finances. For example, a human resource manager is responsible for recruiting, training, and keeping qualified employees working for the business; where as a financial manager will manage the finances of the business.

Furthermore, some businesses have different levels of management to ensure that the visions of the business are carried out effectively. These levels of management include first-line, middle, and top-level. The first-line managers generally supervise the employees, while the middle management supervises the first-line managers. Lastly, the top level manager will concentrate on the overall picture of the company to ensure its future success. These levels of management are most commonly used within the larger businesses.

What do managers do?

Managers have several roles in a business. These roles if done effectively will ensure the satisfaction of both the employees and the business. There are four processes that each and every manager should go through in order to successfully complete any project they have been assigned. These processes are planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Managers must always have a well developed plan. First a goal should be set prior to making the plan; once the goal is set the manager can begin to develop a plan. This is an important part of a manager’s position, if the manager does not set a goal and develop a plan, more than likely it will be impossible for everyone involved to achieve success. Once the plan has been developed, the manager then has to organize his/her plan. This is where his/her decisional skills will come in handy since he/she will have to make many decisions such as how the employees will be organized, who will be assigned what tasks, and how communications will flow.

Once the manager has the plan put in action, he/she must now lead the team of employees. This is accomplished through delegation and motivation. The manager must tell the employees what their role in the project is and establish ways to effectively motivate them in order to complete the task efficiently and effectively. The leadership skills that a manager possesses will determine how successful the project turns out to be.

During production the manager must also utilize the process of controlling. This is where he/she will check on the progress of the project to see how well it is coming along and to ensure that everything is going as planned. This will help the manager to be prepared to implement any back up plans incase of any problems that may arise. This process must be continuously done by the manager so that he/she will be able to see that his plan, organization, and leadership are effectively working.

What are the qualities of a good manager?

All good managers must possess good qualities; some of these qualities may come to them naturally; however, some must be learned. There are no two managers that are alike; each manager will have their own qualities that make them stand out from other managers. Even though managers may have different qualities there are some qualities that each manager should have in common. Some of the qualities that any good manager should have are excellent communication, interpersonal, and time management skills.

Excellent communication skills are one of the most important skills that a manager must have. Communication will be used on a continuous basis in every aspect of the manager’s job; whether it is verbal, nonverbal, written, or done with technology, the manager must be able to professionally communicate. Good communicational skills will bring forth success; where as poor communications will only cause conflict and unproductive workers. When we communicate effectively with our employees we will produce more productivity, satisfied workers, and the success of the plan that is being implemented.
In order for a manager to lead the employees effectively he/she must contain very good interpersonal skills. There are several interpersonal skills that a manager should have; however, some are more important than others. Good management will be people oriented; they will know how to deal effectively with people and conflict. A manager must develop good listening skills, it is imperative that he/she listen to employee concerns and suggestions; this will allow the employee to feel that their input is important. Managers must also be resourceful and have a network of contacts within and outside of the business. Negotiating and influencing are also important skills for the manager to have; this will help him/her to lead a team more effectively. Lastly, he/she must know how to build a team. This is important because the manager wants the team to be able to work together efficiently and productively.

Every good manager should be an expert in time management. This will allow for proper organization and less stress in the workplace. The manager that utilizes his/her time efficiently will in the end produce more results; resulting in more satisfaction from the employees and business. In order for a manager to manage his/her time effectively, there may be times that he/she will need to delegate tasks. This will help him/her to free up some time in order to work on other things. By prioritizing and delegating tasks the manager will ensure that the job will be finished in the allotted amount of time.

How do you cope with low morale as a manager?

Low morale in the workplace can be caused by a variety of factors such as a negative event, an overbearing supervisor, poor working conditions, etc. Whatever the case, managers should always be aware of signs that could indicate a decrease in employee morale. Some signs that a manager could look for are an increase in tardiness, absentee ism, accidents, and a decrease in productivity and quality. When management notices these signs; he/she will be better prepared to handle them effectively and not let them get out of hand.

Managers need to find the source that is causing the low morale of the employees. He/she can simply accomplish this by asking the employees what the cause is and how it can be improved. This will help the manager to develop an appropriate plan to increase employee morale. When developing a plan to increase morale; the manager should take into consideration the input that the employees have provided to him/her. Within his/her plan, he should consider different motivational factors to use in order to increase employee morale.

For management to cope with low morale the manager should first start by learning what it is that keeps their self motivated to continue with their job. This will help the manager have a better perspective on how to determine what motivates others. Management is the key factor to whether their team is successful or not. While coping with low morale managers must remain enthusiastic about things. This enthusiasm is sure to rub off on some of the other employees, helping to increase their morale. Management must also learn what it is that motivates each one of their employees by either directly asking them or by observing them. Once this has been accomplished the manager must implement these motivational factors to ensure that the employees remain motivated.

Goals must be set; these goals should be specific, acceptable, realistic, timely, extending of capabilities and rewarding. These goals should be mutually acceptable by both the manager and employee. The goals will identify with the goals of the organization; which will show each employee the importance of their job. Organizational systems are also good to use to increase employee morale. By placing policies and procedures, compensation and employee performance systems; employees will know in advance what is expected and will be more motivated to do their job to the best of their abilities.

Why do people resist change?

Resistance is a natural and normal reaction whenever change is involved. Every individual has different limitations to how much change they can withstand and their reasons will vary from person to person. Once change has been announced in the workplace it is a good idea for the manager to take the time to understand just what it is that is making employees resist the change. Learning and understanding these reasons will help the manager to find effective ways to change employee’s attitudes and get them to cooperate.

Many times employees don’t understand the reasons behind the sudden change, nor do they feel that the changes are consistent with the goals that they have previously been told. Too often employees are left in the dark about the situation, this adds confusion to the employees and the employees feel as if the change doesn’t make any sense. When management is not honest with the employees about the reasons for the change, this will cause resistance towards the change since it doesn’t make sense and they think why make changes when things are currently fine the way they are. When employees are not told the underlying reasons for the change they are unable to see the reasoning’s and logic to understand why the change is necessary.

Furthermore, change will be resisted because employees have became accustomed to doing their job a certain way. This can result in an employee’s resistance because they fear that they will fail in learning the new requirements and that they will lose the control that they feel they have with their current duties. This bothers employees because they have to step outside of their comfort zone and perhaps learn new skills or work in other departments with different employees and mangers.

Managers should also take into consideration whether employee morale was low or not even before the change was implemented. If employees already feel overworked, not appreciated or burnt out before any change was implemented; implementing change will bring additional stress to what the employee already is experiencing. When additional stress is combined with an already stressful situation a manager should anticipate seeing some of the worst behaviors surface among some of the employees. Management needs to anticipate these behaviors, understand them, and have a plan on how to deal with them (Pete Barron Stark & Associates).

Personal Experience Involving Change

Approximately four years ago I worked for a landscaping business that was a family owned and operated. It was brought to the attention of two owners that the other two were doing illegal things and taking money from the company. These two owners were forced to resign and the other two owners had to buy them out of the company. This put a financial strain on the company; which affected its employees also since they had to layoff one third of them.

This directly impacted the department I was in charge of; all of the members of my team were laid off besides me and one other girl. I was told that if the matter is not urgent and it can be put off then don’t do it, save it for the rainy days when the migrant workers can’t go out in the fields or on the crews, and utilize them to get your area caught up. This was hard for me since I had became so accustomed to getting everything done in a timely manner, plus, I didn’t like the fact that I would have to use another set of workers to complete the work. This also meant that I would have to spend more time helping with the physical work and less time in the office, which was fine with me, however; I was still required to complete all my duties. I didn’t really have to deal with many people since I only had one left and her attitude remained the same and she welcomed the additional responsibilities that she would have.

Thinking about this experience now, I can see how it helped me to learn to plan effectively for change. I learned how to effectively prioritize my duties, multi-task, effectively set new goals and make plans that worked in order to keep my department productive utilizing the limited resources that I had available to me. After awhile, we were able to see how productive this area had become by using fewer resources.

Examples of change that staff may have to deal with in the workplace.

As the world becomes more diverse, companies are faced with making change in order to keep up with the current times. Changes will be implemented due to external or internal factors that affect the business. External changes are changes that are beyond a businesses control; these changes come from outside of the company, for example: competition, changing technology, and consumer behaviour. Internal changes come from inside of the business. These changes could arise from failures within the company or from the creation of new ideas that will cause change to be implemented. Whether change is made due to external or internal factors; the manager must anticipate the change and manage the transition in a timely and acceptable way that will ensure success for the business as well as the employees.

One change that I have noticed that grows more and more each year is technology. Technology has allowed for many opportunities for business to grow and expand. More and more companies are turning to outsourcing its work virtually. This change has helped businesses save money and yet it has made managements and employees duties to change also. For example, some companies will hire virtual workers without having a face to face interview. Therefore, a manager must learn new techniques so that they can screen potential employees to ensure that they have the proper skills and are right for the job. Other changes could include that a manager has to learn how to operate different software, how to hold an effective meeting through a tele-conference, and lastly how they will effectively communicate with the virtual employee.

What can managers do to facilitate the required changes?

When facilitating change a manager must use his leadership skills in order to lead the employees. He must be able to lead his team effectively. This will require that the leader have good interpersonal skills. These skills will help him/her to build a bond with the employees so that they will trust his or her decisions. A good manager will have already developed this bond with his employees before a change would even exist. This will help tremendously in times of change. (Kotter)

Good communications is one of the most important skills that a manager should utilize during these transitions. A manager should schedule a meeting with the employees in his department and explain to them honestly why the changes are taking place. He/she should be prepared to answer any questions as to why this change is not consistent with what they have been being told, how the employees will directly be affected, and what ever questions that the employees have. This meeting is a great time to help the employees understand the underlying reasons for the change; which could enable them to make the transition a smooth one.

During the meeting the manager needs to address the whole group as one in making the change, even if some of the employees are not directly affected; they should be aware of the changes that will be taking place. The manager should listen to all of the employee’s ideas and views, especially the ones who are most negative about the change. Once the manager has done this he should try to use some of the employee’s suggestions and ideas in his/her plan to help them with this transition.

Once the change has begun communications must continue to flow between the employees and the manager. We all know that change does not happen overnight and that it may take some employees longer than others to adapt. Therefore, a manager must keep communications open by providing information, obtaining employees suggestions and opinions on a continuous basis. During this time also it would be wise of the manager to use motivational factors and rewards to help ensure a smooth transition.

Conclusion

Managers have a lot of responsibility that comes with their position. Good managers will possess a variety of qualities and skills that will ensure and help employees to be more successful and productive. They are the key in making sure that the goals of the business are successfully carried out. As stated earlier there are many reasons why an employee may resist change in the workplace. Whether it is due to external or internal factors, it is the manager’s responsibility to develop effective goals and plans so that the employees will cooperate with these changes without too much resistance. The key to any change in the workplace is excellent communications; this skill will be used tremendously throughout the process. Lastly, managers need to understand that resistance is a normal reaction to change and learn effective ways to deal with it.

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